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Westlake Legal Group > Chris Ciaccia

Moon ice could be billions of years old, study suggests

It has long been established that the Moon contains significant amounts of ice and water, including frozen water found on the lunar surface last year. Now, a new study suggests that the ice could be billions of years old and come from different sources.

The study, published in the scientific journal Icarus, suggests that some ice could be almost as old as the Moon itself. Other ice deposits could be much younger, perhaps put there by comets and asteroids, or even underground volcanic activity.

“We quantify the amount of available cold-trapping surface area that is occupied by water ice in order to examine the relationship between the patchiness of ice within each crater and the age of each host crater,” the study’s abstract states. “The majority of surface ice is contained in old craters [greater than 3.1 billion years], where the majority of cold-trapping area on the pole exists.”

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(Credit: EarthView, Arizona State University Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Team from imagery returned by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter)

MOON AND MERCURY MAY HAVE THICK DEPOSITS OF ICE, STUDY SUGGESTS

“Just because the crater is old doesn’t mean that the ice within it is also that old too, but in this case, there’s reason to believe the ice is indeed old,” the researchers said in a statement.

The scientists, led by Brown University researcher Ariel Deutsch, used data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (which was recently used to make a 3D map of the Moon) to come up with their conclusions.

“There have been models of bombardment through time showing that ice starts to concentrate with depth. So if you have a surface layer that’s old, you’d expect more underneath,” Deutsch said.

The newer, smaller craters, which also hold ice, were a “surprise,” she added. “There hadn’t really been any observations of ice in younger cold traps before.”

The age of the ice could have implications for space travel, including NASA’s return to the Moon in 2024 and the exploration of deep space.

WATER MAY BE ALL OVER THE MOON, GIVING NEW HOPE FOR SUSTAIN LIFE

“When we think about sending humans back to the Moon for long-term exploration, we need to know what resources are there that we can count on, and we currently don’t know,” Brown University professor and the study’s co-author, Jim Head, said in the statement. “Studies like this one help us make predictions about where we need to go to answer those questions.”

A study published in August theorized that there may be more ice water on Earth’s natural satellite and Mercury than previously thought. Until recently, it was believed that the water was trapped in “cold traps” at the Moon’s poles, but a 2018 discovery found that there is frozen water on the lunar surface.

Water was first discovered on the Moon in 2009.

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Yahoo data breach settlement: How to collect up to $358

If you had a Yahoo account between 2012 and 2016, you may be entitled to compensation as the tech giant looks to settle a class-action lawsuit against it after it suffered several data breaches.

A website has been set up for those who wish to enter a claim and see if they are part of the settlement, where they can obtain their part of the $117.5 million settlement fund.

To check to see if you are eligible for the settlement, you must have had a qualifying Yahoo account between the specified dates. These accounts include those associated with Yahoo Fantasy Sports, Yahoo Finance, Tumblr and Flickr, as well as Yahoo email addresses. You can contact the administrator here.

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The first two proposed new logos for Yahoo, which plans to unveil a new logo every day for 30 days before settling on a final version. (Yahoo)

HOW TO CLAIM YOUR $100 SETTLEMENT IF YAHOO LEAKED YOUR DATA

If you are eligible for compensation, there are a number of potential benefits you can receive. You can get two years of credit monitoring services from AllClearID, which includes theft insurance.

Cash payments can also be received if someone already has credit monitoring. You can submit a claim for $100 instead of the credit monitoring service, though the website added “[p]ayment for such a claim may be less than $100.00 or more (up to $358.80) depending on how many Settlement Class Members participate in the Settlement.”

There is also an option to get up to $25,000 in reimbursement costs if you suffered expenses associated with the breach.

“As to documented lost time, you can receive payment for up to fifteen hours of time at an hourly rate of $25.00 per hour or unpaid time off work at your actual hourly rate, whichever is greater,” the website adds. “If your lost time is not documented, you can receive payment for up to five hours at that same rate.”

In order to file a claim, which must be done by July 20, 2020, you can do so online. If you are a basic account holder, you can do so here; paid users can click here; a small business user can click here; Israeli citizens can click here.

The company suffered at least three data breaches where a total of more than 3 billion accounts were improperly accessed and information such as telephone numbers, birth dates, passwords, security question answers, and names were obtained.

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Alien life possibly found on Mars in 1970s, ex-NASA scientist says

In a stunning op-ed, a former NASA scientist says he is convinced that the space agency “found evidence of life” on Mars in the 1970s.

In the article, Gilbert Levin, who worked on the Viking missions to the Red Planet during that decade, makes it clear that he believes data from the Labeled Release (LR) in 1976 was supportive of finding life.

“On July 30, 1976, the LR returned its initial results from Mars,” Levin wrote in the op-ed, entitled “I’m Convinced We Found Evidence of Life on Mars in the 1970s.”

“Amazingly, they were positive. As the experiment progressed, a total of four positive results, supported by five varied controls, streamed down from the twin Viking spacecraft landed some 4,000 miles apart.”

Westlake Legal Group mars-ocean Alien life possibly found on Mars in 1970s, ex-NASA scientist says fox-news/topic/aliens fox-news/science/air-and-space/nasa fox-news/science/air-and-space/mars fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 9595b8b8-b66d-5fa9-8635-c5535140e8f3

This artist’s impression shows how Mars may have looked about 4 billion years ago when almost half the planet’s northern hemisphere could have been covered by an ocean up to a mile (1.6 kilometers) deep in some places. (ESO/M. Kornmesser)

NASA: ANCIENT MARS OASIS COULD HAVE SUPPORT LIFE

He continued: “The data curves signaled the detection of microbial respiration on the Red Planet. The curves from Mars were similar to those produced by LR tests of soils on Earth. It seemed we had answered that ultimate question.”

The LR, which was led by Levin, took samples of Martian soil that contained organic compounds and looked for carbon dioxide. Astonishingly, the results seemed to indicate that the carbon dioxide was “being regenerated, possibly by microorganisms as on Earth.”

Fox News has reached out to NASA for comment for this story.

However, Levin seemed to criticize the space agency for not following up on the LR findings, even if NASA concluded that it “found a substance mimicking life, but not life.”

“Inexplicably, over the 43 years since Viking, none of NASA’s subsequent Mars landers has carried a life detection instrument to follow up on these exciting results,” he continued. “Instead the agency launched a series of missions to Mars to determine whether there was ever a habitat suitable for life and, if so, eventually to bring samples to Earth for biological examination.”

NASA has made subsequent visits to Mars, including the InSight lander, which landed in November 2018. The Curiosity rover, which has been on Mars since August 2012, detected a surprising spike in the level of methane that it has not yet been able to explain.

Last November, NASA announced that it had picked a landing spot for its upcoming Mars 2020 mission, a rover that will not include “a life-detection test,” Levin wrote.

“With our current measurements, we have no way of telling if the methane source is biology or geology, or even ancient or modern,” said SAM Principal Investigator Paul Mahaffy of NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center in a June statement. On Earth, methane is produced both biologically and geologically.

Levin pleaded for the space agency to put “life detection experiments on the next Mars mission possible” to be more precise in their hunt for life, but in also keeping “with well-established scientific protocol.” He also wants an independent group of scientists to review the Viking LR data.

“Such an objective jury might conclude, as I did, that the Viking LR did find life,” Levin concluded. “In any event, the study would likely produce important guidance for NASA’s pursuit of its holy grail.”

The newly published op-ed is not the first time Levin has suggested that life was found on Mars. In 1997, he published “his conclusion that the LR had, indeed, discovered living microorganisms on the Red Planet,” according to his website.

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Apple pulls controversial Hong Kong app again after being attacked by China state-run media

Less than 24 hours after Apple received criticism from a state-run media company in China for reinstating the HKMap app in the App Store, the tech giant has pulled the app again.

The app’s developer, HKmap.live, tweeted that it disagreed with the decision to pull the app, stating it does not “endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong.”

The account followed that up with several other tweets, adding that it believes the decision to pull the app to be a “bureaucratic” decision, but one that is also “clearly a political decision to suppress freedom and human right in Hong Kong.”

Westlake Legal Group AppleiPhone11Getty2019 Apple pulls controversial Hong Kong app again after being attacked by China state-run media fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/tech/technologies/apps fox-news/tech/companies/apple fox news fnc/tech fnc Chris Ciaccia article 589453e3-2cfa-5eb2-9ef6-caec0a3d7f62

Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., speaks about the new iPhone during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

APPLE ATTACKED BY CHINA FOR KEEPING CROWDSOURCED POLICE ACTIVITY APP IN HONG KONG

In a statement to Fox News, Apple said that it found the app was being used in nefarious ways.

“We created the App Store to be a safe and trusted place to discover apps. We have learned that an app, HKmap.live, has been used in ways that endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong. Many concerned customers in Hong Kong have contacted us about this app and we immediately began investigating it,” a spokesperson told Fox News.

The spokesperson continued: “The app displays police locations and we have verified with the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau that the app has been used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement. This app violates our guidelines and local laws, and we have removed it from the App Store.”

Earlier this week, an article in the state-owned media China Daily accused the tech giant of “helping [Hong Kong] rioters engage in more violence” after it reversed a decision to ban the app and reallow it, following a wave of public criticism.

APPLE WILL BUILD NEW MAC PROS IN TEXAS AMID TARIFFS

“As a company with international influence, Apple has always enjoyed a high reputation,” the article reads. “A company has its own standards of conduct, but should also have its social responsibilities. If Apple abandons its responsibilities and let violent acts get worse, it puts more users at risk.”

The article continues: “Business is business, and politics is politics. Nobody wants to drag Apple into the lingering unrest in Hong Kong. But people have reason to assume that Apple is mixing business with politics, and even illegal acts. Apple has to think about the consequences of its unwise and reckless decision.”

China is an extremely important market for the iPhone maker, as the tech giant looks to offset slowing sales in its home market. In its most recent quarter, Greater China, which includes China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, accounted for $9.15 billion of its $53.8 billion quarterly revenue, or approximately 17 percent of quarterly revenue.

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NASA: Ancient Mars oasis could have supported life

NASA’s Curiosity rover has discovered evidence of an oasis on Mars more than 3 billion years ago, leaving scientists to wonder whether the Red Planet was capable of supporting life.

The research, published in Nature Geoscience, looks at data Curiosity has collected from the Gale Crater, the 150-mile-wide basin the rover is exploring. The scientists behind the study pointed out the rocks that are enriched with mineral salts as evidence of “shallow briny ponds that went through episodes of overflow and drying,” according to a statement from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“We went to Gale Crater because it preserves this unique record of a changing Mars,” said the study’s lead author, William Rapin, in the statement. “Understanding when and how the planet’s climate started evolving is a piece of another puzzle: When and how long was Mars capable of supporting microbial life at the surface?”

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The network of cracks in this Martian rock slab called “Old Soaker” may have formed from the drying of a mud layer more than 3 billion years ago. The view spans about 3 feet (90 centimeters) left-to-right and combines three images taken by the MAHLI camera on the arm of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA CHIEF SCIENTIST SAYS ‘WE’RE CLOSE’ TO MAKING ANNOUNCEMENTS ABOUT LIFE ON MARS

The Gale Crater, which is believed to be between 3.5 and 3.8 billion years old, serves as a reminder of the difference between Mars’ climate then, which was wet, to the desolate, arid climate it has today.

Mars once had a very wet surface, covered in wide, raging rivers. Water may be the lifeblood of our planet, but it’s unclear whether Mars ever supported (or still supports) life.

Rapin and his team analyzed the salts they found in a 500-foot-tall section of sedimentary rocks known as “Sutton Island,” visited by Curiosity in 2017.

He speculated that Sutton Island could have looked like the saline lakes that are seen on South America’s Altiplano, believed to be influenced by the climate in the same way Gale was. “During drier periods, the Altiplano lakes become shallower, and some can dry out completely,” Rapin added. “The fact that they’re vegetation-free even makes them look a little like Mars.”

The next steps for researchers will be to understand how long it took for Gale Crater to go from a shallow, briny lake to the arid, desolate region it is now.

“Finding inclined layers represents a major change, where the landscape isn’t completely underwater anymore,” said team member, Chris Fedo, in the statement. “We may have left the era of deep lakes behind.”

Westlake Legal Group Mars-oasis-2 NASA: Ancient Mars oasis could have supported life fox-news/science/air-and-space/nasa fox-news/science/air-and-space/mars fox news fnc/science fnc d6c96b82-76b7-5cfd-951a-9b6a282eb7c7 Chris Ciaccia article

This animation demonstrates the salty ponds and streams that scientists think may have been left behind as Gale Crater dried out over time. The bottom of the image is the floor of Gale Crater, with the peak being the side of Mount Sharp. (Credit: ASU Knowledge Enterprise Development (KED), Michael Northrop)

“We can’t say whether we’re seeing wind or river deposits yet in the clay-bearing unit, but we’re comfortable saying is it’s definitely not the same thing as what came before or what lies ahead,” he added.

MARTIAN METEOR COLLISION MAY HAVE TRIGGERED A 1,000 FOOT TSUNAMI

The Curiosity rover, which celebrated its seventh anniversary on the Red Planet in August, has made several remarkable discoveries, including finding “unusually high” levels of methane and a “shiny” object believed to be a meteorite.

NASA hopes the Curiosity rover, which “has a few more years before its nuclear power system degrades enough to significantly limit operations,” can provide additional clues about the planet prior to the launch of the Mars 2020 rover mission.

In November, NASA announced that it has selected the location where its Mars 2020 rover will land on the Red Planet. The rover is expected to reach the Martian surface on Feb. 18, 2021. NASA’s long-term goal is to send a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s.

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Westlake Legal Group Mars-oasis-1 NASA: Ancient Mars oasis could have supported life fox-news/science/air-and-space/nasa fox-news/science/air-and-space/mars fox news fnc/science fnc d6c96b82-76b7-5cfd-951a-9b6a282eb7c7 Chris Ciaccia article   Westlake Legal Group Mars-oasis-1 NASA: Ancient Mars oasis could have supported life fox-news/science/air-and-space/nasa fox-news/science/air-and-space/mars fox news fnc/science fnc d6c96b82-76b7-5cfd-951a-9b6a282eb7c7 Chris Ciaccia article

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Life on Mars? Researcher wants microbes in space to help humans survive ‘barren sterile planets’

A controversial new paper suggests that in order for humanity to survive “barren sterile planets” such as Mars, researchers have to send other forms of life there first — in the form of microbes.

Humanity needs to find out whether terrestrial microorganisms can survive in an extraterrestrial environment so that mankind can colonize planets like Mars, the study suggests.

“Life as we know it cannot exist without beneficial microorganisms,” Jose Lopez, a professor at Nova Southeastern University, said in a statement. “They are here on our planet and help define symbiotic associations — the living together of multiple organisms to create a greater whole. To survive on a barren (and as far as all voyages to date tell us) sterile planets, we will have to take beneficial microbes with us.”

Westlake Legal Group dr-jose-lopez Life on Mars? Researcher wants microbes in space to help humans survive 'barren sterile planets' fox-news/science/air-and-space/planets fox-news/science/air-and-space/mars fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 87473cf3-48c3-50a1-9a52-afaf8c104043

Dr. Jose Lopez from Nova Southeastern University. (Credit: Nova Southeastern University)

UFO VIDEOS ARE FOOTAGE OF REAL ‘UNIDENTIFIED’ OBJECTS, US NAVY ACKNOWLEDGES

“This will take time to prepare, discern and we are not advocating a rush to inoculate, but only after rigorous, systematic research on Earth,” Lopez added.

The study is at odds with regulations from across the globe that prohibit introducing microbes from Earth on other planets.

“The United States is a signatory to an international treaty that stipulates that exploration must be conducted in a manner that avoids harmful contamination of celestial bodies,” NASA wrote on its website concerning planetary protection protocols.

Fox News has reached out to NASA with a request for comment for this story.

Despite that seemingly major obstacle, Lopez and the other researchers believe it is “inevitable” that microbes will be introduced into outer space.

“Mainly, microbial introduction should not be considered accidental but inevitable,” the study’s abstract reads.

The abstract adds that although it is imperative to control and track these microbes, “we also believe that we must discuss the role of microbes as primary colonists and assets, rather than serendipitous accidents, for future plans of extraterrestrial colonization.”

Lopez and the other researchers argue that microbes will be necessary to terraform the planet, just as they have done on Earth. Not only will this save money and time, but it can also help researchers further understand microorganisms and the roles they play on Earth.

“Life on Earth started with relatively simple microorganisms which have the capacity to adapt and evolve to extreme conditions, which defined earth’s habitats in the ancient past,” Lopez added. “Cyanobacteria, for example, provided most of the oxygen we now breath more than two billion years ago. To find the best microbial candidates, we will have to confer with many microbiologists and carry out research here on our home planet to find the optimal microbial species.”

The research has been published in the journal FEMS Microbiology Ecology.

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Westlake Legal Group L868HCTDT8ueAXXrcyXoWc Life on Mars? Researcher wants microbes in space to help humans survive 'barren sterile planets' fox-news/science/air-and-space/planets fox-news/science/air-and-space/mars fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 87473cf3-48c3-50a1-9a52-afaf8c104043   Westlake Legal Group L868HCTDT8ueAXXrcyXoWc Life on Mars? Researcher wants microbes in space to help humans survive 'barren sterile planets' fox-news/science/air-and-space/planets fox-news/science/air-and-space/mars fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 87473cf3-48c3-50a1-9a52-afaf8c104043

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Ancient Roman fort found in England: ‘Very important and completely unexpected’

The remains of an ancient Roman fort dating back nearly 2,000 years have been unearthed underneath a bus station in southern England.

The fort, located in Exeter, is a “very important and completely unexpected” find, according to city officials, who are working on redeveloping the area.

“This is a very important, and completely unexpected, discovery, in an area that has been heavily changed by previous post war redevelopment,” Exeter City Council member Andrew Pye said in a statement. “Along with other recent work in Exeter, it demonstrates just how much of the city’s history can still survive in unlikely places, despite damage caused by bombing and modern concrete foundations.”

Westlake Legal Group Archaeology-Dig-1-Exeter-City-Council Ancient Roman fort found in England: 'Very important and completely unexpected' fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/science/archaeology/ancient-rome fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc fa477bac-d57e-5743-a2ff-90658d2fd2a4 Chris Ciaccia article

(Credit: Exeter City Council)

ANCIENT ROMAN MINE WITH ‘SOME OF THE WORLD’S RICHEST MINERAL DEPOSITS IN THE WORLD’ DISCOVERED IN ENGLAND

Pye added: “This discovery of yet another new Roman ‘fort’ within the city does demonstrate, along with that of the fortress and baths back in the 1970s and of several other new major military sites in the last decade, just how pivotal a role the Exeter area played in the first decades of the Roman conquest and subjugation of Britain, and how crucial development led archaeology has been in revealing this.”

In addition to the fort, which was built in the cathedral city in 55 A.D., coins and pottery made for the military and “fine red Samian tableware imported from France” were discovered.

The ancient fort was discovered by the Exeter Office of Cotswold Archaeology, working in conjunction with Kier Construction to keep track of the city’s Roman history prior to the construction of the new bus station and a forthcoming leisure complex.

Westlake Legal Group Archaeology-Dig-2-Exeter-City-Council Ancient Roman fort found in England: 'Very important and completely unexpected' fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/science/archaeology/ancient-rome fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc fa477bac-d57e-5743-a2ff-90658d2fd2a4 Chris Ciaccia article

(Credit: Exeter City Council)

MOSAIC DISCOVERED IN ISRAELI ‘BURNT CHURCH’ MAY DEPICT JESUS’ MIRACLE OF THE LOAVES AND FISHES

Derek Evans, of Cotswold Archaeology’s Exeter Office, said they were pleased to work with Kier and the city council on the project, as the bus station, originally built in the 1960s, is replaced.

“The unexpected nature of this discovery and the significance of uncovering previously undocumented Roman military features in this area of the city, have made this a challenging and interesting project,” Evans said in the statement. “We look forward to undertaking further analysis of the finds and other material recovered during our works and refining the story of the site’s history.”

Earlier this year, a mysterious Ancient Roman road and mine were discovered by archaeologists in the English town of Cornwall.

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Westlake Legal Group Archaeology-Dig-1-Exeter-City-Council Ancient Roman fort found in England: 'Very important and completely unexpected' fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/science/archaeology/ancient-rome fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc fa477bac-d57e-5743-a2ff-90658d2fd2a4 Chris Ciaccia article   Westlake Legal Group Archaeology-Dig-1-Exeter-City-Council Ancient Roman fort found in England: 'Very important and completely unexpected' fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/science/archaeology/ancient-rome fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc fa477bac-d57e-5743-a2ff-90658d2fd2a4 Chris Ciaccia article

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Mysterious, second interstellar object confirmed

It’s official. We have our second confirmed – and named – interstellar visitor.

The International Astronomical Union confirmed that the object formally known as C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) is indeed from another solar system, giving it the proper name of 21/Borisov on Tuesday.

“The orbit is now sufficiently well known, and the object is unambiguously interstellar in origin; it has received its final designation as the second interstellar object, 2I,” the IAU wrote in a statement. “In this case, the IAU has decided to follow the tradition of naming cometary objects after their discoverers, so the object has been named  2I/Borisov.”

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The first-ever comet from beyond our Solar System, as imaged by the Gemini Observatory. The image of the newly discovered object, named 2I/Borisov, was obtained on the night of Sept. 9 using the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph on the Gemini North Telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea. (Credit: IAU)

NEWLY DISCOVERED INTERSTELLAR VISITOR COULD BE INTERCEPTED, STUDY SAYS

21/Borisov was discovered on Aug. 30 by astronomer Gennady Borisov and, unlike its predecessor, Ouamuamua, will be observable for an extended period of time. It is likely a comet, given its short tail and “fuzzy” appearance, a description backed up by NASA JPL researcher Davide Farnocchia.

“The comet’s current velocity is high, about 93,000 mph [150,000 kph], which is well above the typical velocities of objects orbiting the Sun at that distance,” said Farnocchia in a statement posted to NASA’s website on Sept. 12. “The high velocity indicates not only that the object likely originated from outside our solar system, but also that it will leave and head back to interstellar space.”

Earlier this month, NASA JPL said 21/Borisov is approximately 260 million miles from the Sun and will reach its closest point, known as perihelion, on Dec. 8, 2019, when it gets within 190 million miles of the Sun.

It’s still unclear what Oumuamua actually is, although several theories have emerged, including one from Harvard University researcher Avi Loeb that it could be an extraterrestrial lightsail.

COMETS AND ASTEROIDS COULD BE FLINGING LIFE ALL OVER THE GALAXY, STUDY FINDS

The discovery of 21/Borisov raises new questions, IAU noted, including why interstellar objects were not previously discovered, their expected rate of appearance in the inner solar system and how they compare with similar bodies in the solar system.

“Large telescopic surveys capable of scanning large fractions of the sky on a regular basis may help to answer these questions and more in the near future,” IAU wrote on its website.

Researchers recently theorized that 21/Borisov could be intercepted using existing technology and studied to determine several aspects about it, such as whether it’s a comet or an asteroid. Experts also noted that it could be studied to see, what material, if any, it has picked up from other solar systems.

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Bizarre magnetic pulses found on Mars: It ‘raises interesting questions’

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Scientists have discovered bizarre bursts of magnetic pulses on Mars that are raising “interesting questions.”

The paper, presented at the European Planetary Science Congress annual meeting earlier this month, notes that the Mars InSight lander has detected these magnetic pulses during the nighttime, a phenomenon that can’t yet be explained.

“The nighttime continuous pulsations found by IFG [InSight FluxGate] are unexpected because they are distinct from what are typically observed on the Earth’s surface at the same local time,” the researchers wrote. “On the other hand, we have not found the Mars counterparts for many types of geomagnetic pulsations well known in Earth studies.”

NASA’S INSIGHT MARS LANDER REVEALS STUNNINGLY CLEAR PICTURES OF THE RED PLANET

According to National Geographic, the pulses were 20 times stronger than those that were previously recorded.

“We’re getting an insight into Mars’ magnetic history in a way we’ve never had before,” Paul Byrne, a planetary geologist at North Carolina State University, told the news outlet.

“We speculate that the observed magnetic pulsations by InSight to date are associated with fluctuations in the induced magnetotail and on the magnetospheric boundary,” the researchers added in the study. “Under this scenario, the distinct field and plasma environment at Mars raises interesting questions about how these oscillations propagate through the magnetosphere and ionosphere and reach the surface.”

The magnetic pulses are also seen with a regular frequency, which is startling to the researchers, especially given where the InSight lander is currently — on the planet’s equator.

InSight, which landed safely on the Red Planet in November 2018 after “seven minutes of terror” due to the agency’s inability to control the landing of the spacecraft, is continuing the scientific legacy of NASA’s Apollo missions.

ANCIENT MARS WAS WARM AND RAINY ENOUGH TO SUPPORT LIFE, STUDY SAYS 

Earlier this year, NASA said the $828 million lander recorded the first-ever “Marsquake,” on April 6, InSight’s 128th day on Mars.

The InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) mission is providing scientists with a wealth of data, including helping “scientists understand the formation of all rocky worlds, including our own,” NASA explained on its website.

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Newly discovered interstellar visitor could be intercepted, study says

It’s been nearly a month since the second interstellar object, C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), was detected. And this newly identified object could potentially be studied, according to a new study.

The research, which can be found here, notes that C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), could be intercepted using existing technology and studied to determine a number of aspects about it, such as whether it’s a comet or an asteroid. Experts also note that it could be studied to see, what material, if any, it has picked up from other solar systems.

“Investigating interstellar objects from a close distance would provide us with unique data about other star systems without actually flying to them,” Andreas M. Hein, the executive director of Initiative for Interstellar Studies ‘ board of directors and one of the co-authors of the study told Universe Today via email.

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Comet C/2019 Q4 as imaged by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Hawaii’s Big Island on Sept. 10, 2019. (Credit: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope)

MYSTERIOUS, NEWLY DISCOVERED COMET IS PROBABLY AN INTERSTELLAR VISITOR, SCIENTISTS BELIEVE

“They might provide unique insights into the evolution and composition of other star systems and exoplanets in them. Interstellar objects are cool, as it’s a bit like: If you can’t go to the mountain, let the mountain come to you,” Hein added in the email. “It will likely take many decades until we can send a spacecraft to another star. Hence, interstellar objects might be an intermediate solution for finding out more about other stars and their planets.”

In the research, Hein and the other researchers suggested that by using the Optimum Interplanetary Trajectory Software (OITS) tool to generate trajectories for the object, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy launcher could have sent a 2-ton spacecraft to the object if it was launched in July 2018.

Other launch dates would need more powerful systems, including a 2030 launch data using the presently under-development Space Launch System that would reach the object by 2045.

The research could also have implications for the study of other interstellar objects, including Oumuamua.

“If C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) turns out to be indeed an interstellar object, its discovery shortly after the discovery of Oumuamua implies that the next interstellar object might be discovered in the near future,” the study’s abstract states. “The feasibility of a mission to both, Oumuamua and C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) using existing technologies indicates that missions to further interstellar objects are likely to be feasible as well.”

Comet C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) was discovered on Aug. 30 by astronomer Gennady Borisov and, after much discussion, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) said it likely originated from another system.

Earlier this month, NASA JPL said the object is approximately 260 million miles from the Sun and will reach its closest point, known as perihelion, on Dec. 8, 2019, when it gets within 190 million miles of the Sun.

COMETS AND ASTEROIDS COULD BE FLINGING LIFE ALL OVER THE GALAXY, STUDY FINDS

Sending a spacecraft to Oumuamua would require fast thinking, as it was discovered in October 2017, but it may still be possible, Hein added. “Regarding ‘Oumuamua, we can launch a spacecraft toward it even beyond the year 2030,” he said in the email. “There is plenty of time to develop such a spacecraft.”

It’s still unclear what Oumuamua actually is, although several theories have emerged, including one from Harvard University researcher Avi Loeb that it could be an extraterrestrial lightsail.

Hein said that he anticipates there will be two types of research, one of which is using remote sensing with a telescope to take pictures. The second would be to actually analyze material on the interstellar objects and hopefully, capture some of the particles from the dust plume, which Hein noted would “provide unique insights into the composition of the object.”

Though it’s too soon to guess what the research could reveal, he speculated that there could be evidence  that “organic molecules the building blocks for life, actually travel between star systems,” adding that perhaps, “life itself might actually spread between stars in our galaxy.”

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